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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jackson: Alderman expense accounts too low

7th Ward Alderman elect Sandi Jackson hasn't even taken the oath yet and she already has a gripe about the benefits of being an alderman...
On Tuesday, the incoming alderman who's expected to be the star of the freshman class complained about having to front expenses that should be covered by her $33,280-a-year aldermanic allowance.

Jackson said she has hastily arranged a fund-raiser for Thursday to raise the $50,000 she contends should be covered by taxpayers.

"I just discovered that, unlike any other governmental entity, the city does not provide aldermen with funds to start up their offices," said Jackson, who will be sworn in Monday. "I think that's awful."

In 1999, aldermen raised their annual expense allowance for the first time in nearly 20 years -- from $23,280 to $33,280.

Since then, aldermen have complained repeatedly about running out of money in mid-year, forcing them to either dip into their political funds, go into their own pockets or go hat in hand to Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th), who controls a contingency fund.
I could look at this as whining, but I can see her point. Especially if an alderman is expected to oversee services to their respective ward. They should have an adequately staffed and furnished office to take care of the needs of their constituents.

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